Ezra was a great man. He was orthodox but liberal and gracious while seeking ecumenical unity amongst the American Churches. He believed that Christian sects were as important as local bodies because they were all flawed in some way and therefore humility, graciousness and kindness should prevail amongst men who served Christ.
He improved the American college system by raising the standards and ceremony of Yale through a thorough and excellent liberal arts education. He was a great preacher, pastor and scholar. He did not diminish the role of Yale in providing preachers, he made them better candidates and improved the learned professions in his state and the United States.
He was not a fan of the New Divinity School of thought as it strayed from “Edwardian Divinity” as he understood it. He believed the New divinity was hyper-Calvinistic and that it offered those who most needed the good news, nothing but contempt and vitriol. Stiles was an “old Light” but resembled the Puritans more than the “New Light” preachers like Whitfield. Stiles foresaw that Whitfield and other itinerant preacher’s teaching would gave way to anti-clericalism that weakened the faith and the church in Connecticut. Continue reading “The Gentle Puritan”